Best Practice

Reducing school exclusions: Fixing the system

Rather than resorting to exclusion, London South East Academies Trust is working as a strategic partner with local authorities to identify and address the underlying needs of children within its mainstream settings. Claire Muccio explains

As the SEND Green Paper rightly highlighted, alternative provision undoubtedly sits firmly within the world of SEND (DfE, 2022).

Any professional working in AP or associated agencies will know that children at risk of exclusion because of their “behaviour” will almost certainly have underlying needs that are affecting their learning and wellbeing, and which require long-term support.

Through my experience of working in AP, running a local authority-commissioned outreach service for primary and secondary schools across south east London, these underlying needs will typically be complex and often compounded by a challenging social context.

Many of the young people referred to us are from families who have experienced deprivation and adversity. Most of them are known to a variety of services, including Children’s Social Care. Many families are raising their children under very difficult circumstances, which can include domestic violence, substance mis-use, food/digital poverty, housing problems, and relationship breakdowns.

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